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lilies2

It seems to be my “M.O.” If there’s a right way to do something, I will find a way to “back” into it. Backwards, it would appear, is my dominant direction. Maybe I should start at the beginning.

I’m not a proficient gardener. On a scale from 1-to-10, I would generously rate myself a -2. I’ve done a little container gardening with moderate success, but the whole outdoor gardening/landscaping thing, generally eludes me. Perennials . . . annuals . . . climate zones . . . sun/shade . . . soil types . . . lifting? There is so much to know and do to have a thriving residential landscape. Honestly, I never had time when I worked fulltime.

Year One. The birds got nice and fat. It seems seeding the lawn was more likely just feeding the birds. Have you ever seen a lawn “black” with birds? I have. Seeding usually resulted in swarms of sparrows feasting on the endeavor. I even setup posts with shredded grocery bags tied to them to frighten the birds away. It was indeed a scary sight. They, however, quickly figured out the bags were harmless . . . evil little raptors. Now the grass left is pretty much what grows naturally. Translation: nice and green Fall through Spring and dead, brown in the summer. I don’t know why it does that. It’s just what it does.

Year Two. The next big learning experience was vermin in the form of roving bands of semi-domestic deer. After the grass fiasco, I planted a potted jasmine gifted me by a friend. Now some varieties of jasmine, it turns out, are deer-resistant. Mine wasn’t one of those or the deer failed to read the information spike I so graciously placed in front of the plant for easy identification. Additionally, they quite enjoyed the lovely flowers planted from seed fanning out from the base of the trellis purchased specifically for the jasmine. All I can say is the neighborhood deer had a wonderful buffet.

Year Three. A little knowledge goes a long way. 1) I live in zone 8 or 9a depending on the website being referenced. 2) I have “sandy” soil. I actually have about one-inch of soil over plain-old sand. 3) Due to the regular marine layer, I have partial sun for the purpose of growing. 4) Perennials are the flowers that come back every year. 5) Most bulb plants are deer-resistant. 6) Bulb lifting is not required in my climate zone. My conclusion . . . lilies are my best flower option. So, I made a visit to a local lily farm to learn more.

I came home with a load of lilies . . . calla, day and oriental to be exact. The farm is run by a lovely retired couple. It seems more of a hobby than a serious retail enteprise. The gentleman took his shovel and just dug up clumps of different plants putting them in grocery bags. Next thing I knew I was headed home with the back of my Kia full of lily plants. Had I driven the truck I would have probably brought more home.

Now did you notice that nowhere in this story did I tell you about the part where I got an area ready for planting a lily garden? That’s because I didn’t. It was supposed to be a “field trip” for the purpose of learning more so I could buy bulbs cheap online. I had no plans of immediately putting plants in the ground. What can you do, when an opportunity presents itself? You go for it.

The lilies all got planted. The free lunch thing applies, of course. A half-dozen bags of dirt had to be purchased at the local hardware store to facilitate the planting and assure there was at least some soil mixed with the sand. Ergo sandy soil or I hope it works out that way.

Here’s where my backwards comes in. I did NOT get all the dead, brown grass cleared. It’s all there is in my yard with the exception of some daffodils stolen earlier this year from a nearby empty lot; two lonely iris (one blooming!); some Alyssum which survived the deer buffet; and, the dead bones of my jasmine. No, I haven’t removed it yet. Clearing will take some significant time especially if I want to save what little dirt exists covering the sand. So, I’ll back into the lily bed by making the bed around the planted lilies. It will be a little harder, but it’s doable.

I will need to make a couple of take trips to the jetty to round-up driftwood suitable to edge the bed. It’s the most likely locale for finding the size I need. I’m also thinking I need to do some research on composting. I will have plenty of debris from the clearing and will need to “mulch” the lilies for the winter. (See, I am learning.) Perhaps I will find a super cheap way to set up the whole compost operation.

More things for the “to do” list that is getting really lengthy lately. Well, you know the old saying? Something about busy hands and all that. Or was that idle hands? Either way, seems I best be about doing something or another.

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